Complaints have been made by parents of middle school students in Georgia over the teaching of Islam in the curriculum.
“What they are learning goes against my religion completely,” mother Michelle King told WSB-TV.
“My daughter had to learn the Shahid and the Five Pillars of Islam, which is what you learn to convert,” King added. "But they never once learned anything about the Ten Commandments or anything about God."
According to Kim Embry, spokeswoman for Walton County Public Schools, the department has received only five phone calls on the issue: two from the same number, and another from an individual outside the state who did not have children.
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“If you’re learning about the Middle East, it’s very difficult not to teach about Islam,” Embry told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Some parents disagreed with the way the religion was being taught in school. They pointed to a statement in a homework exercise which read, “Allah is the same God worshipped by Jews and Christians.”
“It seemed like half the truth to me,” father Steven Alsup told WSB-TV. "They didn't talk about the extreme Islamics."
Matt Cardoza, a spokesman for the Georgia Department of Education, said most complaints were in response to the news story and did not concern schools statewide.
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“The standard for seventh grade given to educators is to ‘compare and contrast the prominent religions in the Middle East: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity,” the department said in an email to WSB-TV. "The teachers resource guide advises ‘This element is not an evaluation of any religion, nor is it a course in the belief system of any religion.’"
The Georgia Performance Standards, the state’s guidelines for education, state, “It is important that students understand the differences between each of these religions to help them understand the tensions that exist in the region,” according to the Journal Constitution.
The complaints are related to the curriculum being taught at Loganville and Youth middle schools.
“The curriculum department went through all of it last week,” Embry said, “and they did not find anything they were concerned about.”
A meeting is set to take place between parents and school officials this week to address the matter.